Sabah is expecting its first batch of Chinese tourists this February, said new Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Christina Liew.
The Api Api assemblyman said that she was informed that AirAsia would be bringing in passengers from three provinces in China, including Hangzhou and Shenzhen as early as February 1. "We are expecting the tourism boom to come back big this 2023," she said when met during a walkabout at the Chinese New Year market in the city here.
"My understanding is that there is a principal agreement that AirAsia will be bringing in Chinese tourists from three provinces starting this February 1. Malaysia Airport Berhad has informed me for the aircraft slot request. Liew said that the state wants to ensure industry service providers like logistics, restaurants and hotels are well-prepared for the incoming tourists and will be holding discussions with hotel associations soon.
She also said that she was concerned about the traffic congestion in the state capital and surrounding districts, which has become a daily problem.
"It will be a bigger issue when the tourists are here. We will discuss this matter with the relevant authorities and state departments,” she said.
Earlier this month, China lifted quarantine requirements for inbound travellers, ending almost three years of self-imposed isolation.
Chinese authorities also said its citizens’ ability to travel overseas will be “resumed in an orderly manner” but did not elaborate on when this will resume.